JUNE 2008
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Today for those of you who know our family is my Auntie Marion’s 90th birthday and having visited yesterday to deliver her birthday cake she is looking forward to one present a laptop computer so she will be able to join us all here in cyberspace. Next I would like to thank all our Open Farm Sunday visitors some of whom braved the mid morning rains to be with us. I really mean this when I say your visits make what we do here feel worthwile.

Among the visitors was Steve Wilkinson (complete with chain of office) who is the last ever Chairman of Cheshire County Council. The county has now been split into two governing bodies we are in West Cheshire and the river Dane our eastern boundary is part of the new divide. Sorry to be pollitical but it wasn’t broken so why did central government have to “fix it”.  Today’s jobs to do include fixing a wheel bearing on our IH784 and making sure I’m finished early as the RABI committee meets here tonight (secretary Norman knows holding the meeting here guarantees my attendance).

Final preparations are now underway for two events. The RABI and silaging. The hall is cleaned and cleared of un-wanted tools bits of machinery etc and the forage harvester has been brought over from Norcroft. Just the two trailers to collect and last evening we tried out the mower on the area we aim to use as the cat park. We currently have about 70 tickets sold but I suspect some people are waiting on the weather before deciding on comming or not.  Steve is currently cutting and tidying the hedge so given we had no lawnmower until yesterday he has his work cut out. More soon probably once I’ve finished with these two events………..Oh did I mention we also have a school visit booked in for Monday.

Saturday’s event passed off a success and the band Cover Story were excellent it seems a shame we only had around 70 people though still we did raise nearly £400 for the RABI. We have been incubating goose eggs but due to a power failure ( the immersion heater for the milking parlour blew) we have only hatched one so we are now looking for a friend for our new little gosling. Sliaging is now progressing and we have 18 acres mown Simon will mow another 7 today then we will start collecting it this evening.

The event was a success with the predicted 70 attending and I can recommend Cover Story as an excellent band. Thanks to all who helped and attended. Total raised for the RABI around  £450. Silaging is being a nightmare first 50yds Simon found a tyre in the row I don’t know how it got there as I rolled the field myself and you would notice things like that.

Next 50yds after taking around 2 hours to remove the tyre from the forager a large stone bending a blade and destroying the forager hood. Monday’s effort terminated. Tuesday trip to Slaidburn for parts fitted and yesterday 10 acres cleared yet another breakdown at the end of the day with a universal joint bearing clollapsing on the main drive shaft. Simon is just off to Sandbach for the part. On the plus side Peter has taken to the buckraking job well and is doing and excellent job. It does look however that silaging will extend into nthe weekend as will the hire of the tractor to drive the forager. This year we are trying out a New Holland supplied by www.malpastractors.co.uk

Silaging abandoned due to breakdowns and Cheshire show commitments. Mondays show preparations went well with an excellent idea from Rowena fron NFU head ffice. Rowena and her boyfriend have made a box container which is filled with fruit and vegetables and using the right coloured vegies gives us the form of a Union Jack combined with the produce from Brian Lowe’s farm shop at Shanty Farm Byley a VERY impressive display. On set up day I was alson informed I was £100 low with my estimate on our 60s evening. I collected the milk for the giveaway and arrived late and at the wrong farm initally and in all the show traffic it was 11.30 when I arrived on site I took to giving the milk away and cleared 750 cartons in 3 hours which does show the ammount of visitors we do get in the marquee an I probably had far more refusers than takers I suspect people thought it was warm and hadn’t noticed the fridge.

Sunday 22nd saw gale force winds and myself and the roadshow supporting arable farmer Richard Reeves at his open day. Richard farms within Tatton park and was opening up with his “open farm Sunday event” The inds however reducing numbers as Tatton is usually a very popular place as you can see by the link www.tattonpark.org.uk  Three visiting schools this week plus a pre-visit plus a visit from the Cheshire County Farms Competition judge as we have entered the Farming and Wildlife section. So apart from milking farming has taken a back seat. Also Dorothy and Simon spent Tuesday and Wednesday at an event at Preston  leaving me with 38 pupils (Tues) and 42 (Wed) they did however bring me the repair parts for the forager on their way back.  Due to the breakdowns we have big baled about 2.5 ha of the silage as due to the excellent dry weather it was too dry to collect with a forager. My plan now (plan B) is to use these very dry big bales for the heifers this winter and to silage our hay meadow next week.  In amongst all this are a team of somewhat bemused painters sent by the estate for our five year spruce up all good fun.

See you soon, Phil


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